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Almond cake recipe

2014 July 24
by Emily Hill

You are going to die when you see how unbelievably easy this almond cake recipe is. (Thank you, Dawn!) You can whip up this baby in just a few minutes and before you know it, you’ll have the most delightful almond cake to share with friends and family. Or just family. Or just you.

An 8×8-inch pan is a single serving, right?!?


Almond cake


Don’t let the short list of ingredients fool you. This is one noteworthy cake, especially if you’re a fan of almond-flavored desserts.

If you’re not, we can still be friends because that means I don’t have to share my bear claw.


Almond cake


Printable almond cake recipe below.

Almond Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Only six ingredients and super easy to make. You'll love this almond cake recipe!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 to 1½ T almond extract
  • Slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square pan or 8-inch pie pan.
  2. Cream eggs and butter. Add sugar, flour and almond extract. Pour into pan.
  3. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

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20 food blogs you should follow. For reals.

2014 July 22
by Emily Hill

Though my site is considered a “lifestyle” blog (you can read my thoughts on that here), it’s definitely heavy on the recipes. What can I say? I like to make—and eat—good food. I’m told a lot of people feel the same way. Of course my recipe-heavy lifestyle blog is a very small sprinkle on a very large cupcake.

Mmm…cupcakes…

The Interweb is full of many amazing food blogs out there, my favorite ones to follow are those that feature recipes I’ll really and truly make (and not just pin) or those owned by women I’ve met in real life who have since become friends. I feel like those are pretty good criteria, and if they are heavy on desserts or pasta, even better.

Here is a compilation—in no particular order—of 20 food blogs you should follow. I hope you’ll discover some new favorites because as far as I’m concerned, you can never have too many recipes in your virtual recipe box.


20 food blogs you should follow

20 Food Blogs You Should Follow*
* No, really. You totally should.

  1. Vintage Mixer – Becky is simply the cutest and a huge supporter of buying local. I love her seasonal recipes.
  2. Taste and Tell — Our family adores Deborah’s gourmet hot dogs and she’s provided enough recipes for #TacoTuesday to keep us happy for months.
  3. Oh Sweet Basil — Carrian is one of the first food bloggers I met in real life. I adore her and her recipes.
  4. Completely Delicious — Enough said. Every recipe on her site looks absolutely and completely delicious.
  5. Barbara Bakes – Barbara is another one of my food blogging friends. She bakes the yummiest desserts around.
  6. Damn Delicious — The name alone makes me smile and her recipes are just that.
  7. Pinch of Yum — This site, like a few others on the list, has some of the most beautiful food photography.
  8. Sweet Treats & More — Kristy is sweeter than the desserts she posts on her site (if that’s possible). Great family-friendly recipes.
  9. White on Rice Couple — I fell in love with Todd and Diane after attending one of their food photography workshops. An amazing couple with stunning photography and recipes.
  10. A Southern Fairytale – I don’t get enough of Rachel and her southern hospitality. She’s one of my faves.
  11. Minimalist Baker — Truly minimalist recipes that look and sound and taste delicious.
  12. Cafe Johnsonia — Lindsey makes some of the freshest recipes around featuring local products and lots of good-for-you recipes.
  13. Pressure Cooking Today — a new site by Barbara that has me jonesing for a pressure cooker. I don’t have one yet but still pin about every recipe.
  14. I Wash…You Dry — Shawn makes some of the most mouthwatering appetizers I’ve seen. I wish she were my next-door neighbor.
  15. No Diets Allowed — Kami’s smoothies look too decadent to be healthy but they are. Mmm…
  16. Averie Cooks — When Averie’s Instagram photos come through my feed, I nearly lick the screen. They are THAT good.
  17. Sally’s Baking Addiction — Another favorite site for desserts and all things sweet and delicious.
  18. Two Peas & Their Pod — I’ve known Maria for a few years and she posts some of the most amazing recipes. (Her cookies are my favorite!)
  19. Budget Gourmet Mom — Krista is as sweet and they come. I love her blog because you’ll find life stories mixed in with recipes the entire family will love.
  20. FoodieCrush — Heidi’s site is my go-to reference for amazing food photography and nspiration for new recipes. Her FoodieCrush magazine is a total win and her posts are always worth reading.

Just know this list isn’t complete. I’m going to have to do a part two because there are at least a handful of other food blogs you need to follow…blogs like Lemon Tree Dwelling, Cooking with Ruthie and Simple Plate.

Before I end this post, I want to say thank you to my wonderful ITRML readers and recipe triers. When one of our family favorites becomes one of yours, it makes my heart super happy.

An extra special thanks to Lindsey who’s made my decadent chocolate cake a bazillion times and to Evonne who has tried more of my recipes than I can count.

xoxo


ps post script

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Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

The Top 50 Swim Cities — is yours on the list?

2014 July 21
by Emily Hill

Once I caught wind of The Top 50 Swim Cities over on the USA Swimming site, I knew I had to check the list. And what do you know? Salt Lake City is on it slipping in at number 50.

Utah County is number 34 but we’ll pretend we didn’t see that.


Top 50 Swim Cities by USA Swimming and Speedo


With an avid swimmer in the family, The Top 50 Swim Cities (presented by Speedo) makes for an interesting read. My old stomping grounds in the San Jose area came in at number 2. This area claims the most USA Swimming members per 1,000 people and “the largest multicultural make-up of any region.” Top on the list? Ann Arbor, Michigan. Apparently a history rich in swimming has produced more than 60 Olympians. No wonder it’s ranked first in the U.S.

We may not live in Ann Arbor or the Bay Area, but we may still have an Olympian in the family. And if not an Olympian, definitely a college scholarship hopeful. She has set quite a few of her school’s swimming records.


High School Swim Records

I may not have been involved with USA Swimming when I was in high school but I did swim a mean butterfly and IM. I’d like to think Madison got her fish-like swimming skills from her mom.


Swim finals

She also got my sense of humor, love of reading and long legs, but you’ll have to take my word for it on those.

To check out the full article and see if your city made the cut, you can read the full feature on the USA Swimming website.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Love Jason Mraz, love “Love Someone” & love ‘YES!’

2014 July 18
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign for Jason Mraz and #SPREADYES. All thoughts, opinions and love of Jason Mraz are 100 percent honest and all mine. If I weren’t happily married, I’d wish he were too.

Too many loves? I doubt it. At least not if you’re a Jason Mraz fan and you heard his latest single “Love Someone” from YES! and then promptly downloaded the entire album from iTunes. Love the single, love the album, love the man. How can you not love an artist who makes casual Friday look so good…


Jason Mraz Instagram

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason’s new album YES!.


Jason Mraz YES!

Have you heard “Love Someone” yet? It’s about as true Jason Mraz as it comes.


*sigh*

You just fell in love with Jason Mraz all over again, right?

While that single may be the most popular from his new record, I’m kinda falling in love with “Hello, You Beautiful Thing” (track 3) and “3 Things” (track 10). Fortunately for you and me and the rest of the world, Jason is releasing a new video daily featuring tracks from YES!. That means I can share “Hello, You Beautiful Thing” with you today.


Though you can listen to the “3 Things” official audio, you’ll have to check the official Jason Mraz YouTube channel daily to catch the “3 Things” official video.

But wait, there’s more to love! To help spread word about the release of his new album YES!, Jason Mraz is hosting his #SPREADYES contest with some pretty phenomenal prizes. We’re talking a flyaway to a Mraz show of your choice for you and a friend plus swag like signed copies of YES! and Mraz merchandise.


Jason Mraz YES! #SPREADYES

It’s super easy to participate. You can go all out (e.g., skydive with a parachute that sports the #SPREADYES hashtag) or go for quantity over quality (e.g., tweet about YES! and #SPREADYES until your fingers are numb). Either way, you’ll have a better chance of winning than if you do nothing at all.

For more details on how you can #SPREADYES and possibly score with Jason Mraz*, visit http://bit.ly/SpreadYES.

* By “score” I mean become one of his most favorite fans ever, not the other kind of “score.” Of course, who knows what shenanigans might occur on a flyaway…

To (virtually) pick up your copy of YES!, visit your local iTunes store. (See how clever I am?)


Jason Mraz #SPREADYES

You can find Jason online at JasonMraz.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram, like love him on Facebook or watch him on YouTube. Or do all of the above…though I wouldn’t do them all at once. You might miss an awesome Mraz Moment.

Pretty sure #MrazMoment should be a new hashtag. Just sayin’.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Tequila lime chopped chicken salad

2014 July 17
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post as part of the Whole Foods Ambassador program. All thoughts, opinions and hunger-inducing photos are 100 percent honest and all mine.

If you love a good southwestern salad, this tequila lime chopped chicken salad will quickly become one of your favorites. It features diced tequila lime-marinated chicken breast, corn, black beans, tomato, avocado, shredded cheese and the most delightful spicy avocado ranch dressing inspired by Taste and Tell.


Tequila lime chopped chicken salad


The best thing about this chopped chicken salad is its flexibility—you can mix and match ingredients and change up the dressing. Next time I make it I’m going to try adding pinto beans and jicama and substitute pepper Jack cheese for the Colby-Jack. I may even whip up a batch of Cafe Rio creamy cilantro dressing and top it with crispy tortilla strips!

The true star of this salad is the tequila lime chicken. I used Bill Baron’s Tequila Lime seasoning from Whole Foods and created a marinade for the chicken breasts. After marinating about 3 hours, I threw them on the grill. After about 15 minutes, they were done. And about 15 minutes after that, we’d inhaled all the diced chicken. It’s safe to say it was my family’s favorite marinade to date.


Tequila lime chopped chicken salad


Printable recipe for tequila lime chopped chicken salad below.

Tequila Lime Chopped Chicken Salad with Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
The tequila lime chicken is the star of this chopped chicken salad. It's a must as is the avocado ranch dressing, but feel free to mix it up with your favorite southwestern-style ingredients adding as much or as little as you'd like. Avocado ranch dressing adapted from Taste and Tell.
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 to 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ⅛ to ¼ cup fresh dill, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ⅛ cup fresh chives
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
Salad
  • 3 to 4 chicken breasts marinated in Bill Baron's Tequila Lime seasoning
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ to 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ can golden sweet yellow corn, drained and rinsed
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • Chopped lettuce (Romaine, iceberg, or a mix)
  • Tortilla strips, optional
Instructions
Dressing
  1. Combine all of ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. For a thinner consistency, add more buttermilk. To adjust the "heat," play with the amount of cayenne pepper. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 3 to 4 cups.
Salad
  1. Grill chicken breast over direct medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. Remove from grill and dice.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and top with avocado ranch dressing, tossing just before serving (or serving as is). Top with tortilla strips and extra cheese.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Comfortably inspired by My Sister’s Tee {GIVEAWAY}

2014 July 15
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: My Sister’s Tee provided me with a tee from their new collection. All thoughts, opinions and adorable photos of my mom, sis and me are 100 percent honest and all mine.

Those who’ve been my friends the longest will tell you I am a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. Although I’ve classed it up a bit over the last year or two (thank you, Nordstrom Rack), I can’t resist a comfortable, eye-catching t-shirt. That’s why I was super excited when my friend Aly and her sister introduced their latest project, My Sister’s Tee.


My Sisters Tee

This new collection of women’s t-shirts features comfortable styles and fabrics combined with inspirational messages like “be the good,” “grande aspirations,” “dreamer of dreams” and my favorite “ride on girl.” (I am a cyclist after all.)

I absolutely love the idea. And the tees.

I chose the Be the Good dolman-style tee from the Uplifted collection. It was the perfect tee for a hot day at the San Diego Zoo. I love a nice dolman when I know there’s a good chance I’ll be sweating up a storm. The fabric was super soft and the flowy style suited me perfectly.

As I get closer to 40, I’m finding I love the flowy style. A lot.


My Sisters Tee Be the Good dolman style tee

Guess who else loves the tee? Madison, which means I haven’t seen it since she borrowed it after we returned from our Oceanside vacation. “It’s comfy and cute” is all I get when I ask why she hasn’t yet returned it. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see it in my closet again. *sigh*

Oh, I almost forgot! That dolman style makes it easier to get your arm in the right position for selfies on the San Diego Zoo bus.


San Diego Zoo bus tour

Here are a few of my other favorites:


My Sisters Tee Ride On

My Sisters Tee Grande Aspirations

My Sisters Tee Rise Above

See what I mean? Adorable styles, colors and sayings!

You can find My Sister’s Tee getting all social on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.


And now for the giveaway!

** My Sister’s Tee is giving away one (1) $40 gift certificate to MySistersTee.com! **

You can enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Emergen-C smoothie & orange muffins {GIVEAWAY}

2014 July 10
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Emergen-C. I received compensation for this post. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Emergen-C as a product or its effectiveness.

This may be a sponsored campaign for Emergen-C, but we’ve been drinking Emergen-C for years. Ever since Emergen-C came out with its original Super Orange flavor, Nathan and I have used this vitamin supplement drink mix to support our immune system and help enhance our energy naturally.* Before our last trip to Italy, I stocked up on multiple flavors of Emergen-C so our immune system got its daily support of vitamin C—a must when dealing with jet lag. Who wants to feel under the weather while in Tuscany?


emergen-c

We also have Emergen-C on hand for our kids. They love the treat of a fizzy drink and I love knowing we’re providing them with immune support year round.* How can you go wrong with 250 mg of vitamin C (417% daily value), antioxidants zinc and manganese, and B vitamins in each packet?

But did you know you can do more with an Emergen-C packet than simply dumping it into 4 to 6 ounces of water? I didn’t until I checked out their collection of Emergen-C recipes. From mocktails to muffins, you can add Emergen-C to just about anything including your favorite parfait.

We first tried the Pump You Up Vanilla Protein Smoothie. We tweaked it a bit (the recipe is forgiving that way) and came up with a super refreshing drink.


Emergen-C orange vanilla smoothie


Here’s how the recipe looks with the changes. You could even switch it up by adding fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries, Greek yogurt or crushed ice.


Emergen-C Orange Vanilla Smoothie
1 packet Emergen-C Super Orange
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup 50% less sugar orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tsp honey
1 banana (optional)

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. To make the smoothie “frostier,” add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice and blend.


The recipe we truly fell in love with was the one for Hot ‘N’ Toasty Orange Muffins. Man, these babies were divine! I made a couple slight changes and the end result was delicious…even if this batch of super orange breakfast muffins was slightly over baked.


Emergen-c super orange breakfast muffins


5.0 from 4 reviews
Super Orange Breakfast Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Our family loves these orange muffins. Perfect for breakfast on the go or as a healthy snack option.
Ingredients
  • 1 packet Emergen-C Super Orange
  • 1 orange, peeled with seeds removed
  • ¼ cup 50% less sugar orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Separate peeled orange into quarters. Place in food processor with orange juice and blend until pureed. In a large bowl, combine pureed orange and juice, egg and butter. Mix until smooth.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to orange mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in pan; remove to wire rack to cool completely.


I’m anxious to try a few of the other Emergen-C recipes like the Smartfait, The Pominator and Rock Your World Healthy Mocktail.

Let’s be honest. This girl loves a good mocktail.

Did you know that Emergen-C does more than support health and energy?* The company also supports many worthy causes:

  • For every 30-count box of Emergen-C Pink sold, 25 cents is donated to fund breast cancer awareness, research and prevention efforts (up to $100k annually).
  • For every box of Emergen-C Blue sold, 25 cents directly supports the efforts of the Surfrider Foundation, an organization whose main goal is to protect our oceans.
  • Through Emergen-C Kids, 25 cents is donated to the Vitamin Angels, who provide essential nutrients to one child for one year every time a box is sold (up to $100k annually).
  • Emergen-C has partnered with Operation Gratitude and sends packets overseas to help keep morale high and support the troops.


And now for the giveaway!

** Emergen-C is giving away one (1) three-month supply of drink mix and an Emergen-C water bottle! **

You can enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.